Perseverance and avoiding jacket making brain scramble

Making a jacket is an undertaking.  While it’s true that the sewing is only moderately more complicated than a blouse, there are a lot more pieces in play.  Unfortunately, the number of added pieces and the amount of extra time that they will require are not always in a 1:1 ratio.

The jacket I’m working on now has a lot of extra pieces, and I’ve been frustrated with the snail’s pace that I’ve been going at.  My frustration has, of course led to more mistakes which has taken more time and taxed my already fried brain.  As a way of a break, and to help others avoid this brain scramble, here are some ways to give yourself a mental break in the midst of jacket making (or any other large project for that matter).

  1. Make a task list:  It’s a good idea to break down all of the steps in a jacket into reasonable pieces.     Pattern guide sheets can help you with this–simply draw a line at a stopping point on your guide sheet wherever you think a good stopping point is.  If you’re like me and you do things out of order, make up your own list–it’ll only take about 5 minutes, and it will save you time in the end because you won’t be scrambling to try and push yourself further than you can handle (more mistakes).
  2. Enjoy the process:  It’s pretty amazing watching all of these bizarre shapes strewn across your workspace transform themselves into a jacket.  Step back and admire that welt pocket that you did executed so well, or that sleeve cap that is so beautifully round.  Rushing this will cut down the fun.
  3. Do something different:  I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to bust out a jacket in a weekend like this awesome book by Cecilia Podolak says you can, but I would say that sometimes that big pile of pieces staring at you can be overwhelming and feel very unfinished object like.  Set aside your jacket after you’ve finished your daily tasks (see #1) and pick up a knit top pattern or something else that you can do almost on auto-pilot.  You’ll still get to see a finished product quickly (it just won’t be your jacket), and you’ll have something to wear under it as soon as you’ve finished your jacket.  Or do something completely different–make something delicious or let your child pose with the Lego car he so proudly designed himself (okay, so Daddy took this picture, but kid photo ops are a good mental break).
  4. Tea therapy and the kindness of a friend:  You will make mistakes.  On this jacket, I’ve already sewn the princess seams askew multiple times on the lining, put topstitching on the fronts on the wrong side of the seam, and sewn the top of my separating zipper to the wrong side of its seam no less than 5 times.  When this happens, roll with it.  Put stuff down, make a cup of tea, put on some good music or watch something inspirational and sit down with your seam ripper.  I’ve written before about your seam ripper being the best kind of friend–one who is there not to pass judgment on your failures but just to help.  You and your seam ripper are in it together, and with that, unsewing can become part of your sewing process.

As for this jacket which is nowhere near complete, here are some sneak peeks:

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